Buehrle's contract with Marlins carries risk

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Buehrle's contract with Marlins carries risk

In agreeing to a four-year, 58 million contract with Mark Buehrle, Miami added a durable, dependable arm to their starting rotation. That's the positive side. The negative side is they're paying 14.5 million to a high-contact pitcher who will be 37 in the final year of the deal.

Over the course of his four-year, 56 million deal with the White Sox that expired after last season, Buehrle was worth 66.5 million to the White Sox -- a surplus value of 10.5 million. Most of that surplus value came in 2008, which ranks among the best seasons of Buehrle's career. From 2009-2011, he was worth 1-1.5 million more than his salary per season.

Buehrle's durability over the last dozen years is well-known, as he hasn't failed to throw fewer than 201 innings in any season since joining the White Sox starting rotation in 2001. But as Buehrle enters his mid and late 30's, can Miami expect the same kind of durability?

Generally, the answer to that question would be no. But Buehrle isn't your average pitcher -- heck, his fastball is still the same speed as it was when he was 27. He's gone through his prime with an 86 mph fastball, so why can't it continue into his late 30's?

But no matter the player, as he gets older injuries become more likely. A lot of Buehrle's value is predicated on him throwing 200 innings, and if he loses five or six starts to an injury, that's enough to take his value below his salary.

That's why this move is risky for Miami. It helps that Ozzie Guillen has managed Buehrle since 2004 and knows how to manage his innings load to keep him as fresh as possible. But one freak injury and suddenly, Miami is saddled with overpaying Buehrle for a year.

Miami can -- apparently -- afford to shoulder that monetary risk, though. The White Sox could, too, but as they transition to a younger roster, there are better ways for Kenny Williams & Co. to spend 58 million.

Sentimentally, keeping Buehrle would've been great. And performance-wise, he'd probably still be successful with the Sox. But that's a lot of money to spend on someone of Buehrle's age, and the Sox shouldn't be criticized for not matching the contract offer.

Maybe this is nothing more than an effort to soften the blow of losing Buehrle -- who, for the record, has been my favorite player since I was 12 -- by saying "well, he wouldn't have been worth it." Chances are, Buehrle will be worth the contract he signed with Florida. But it's less of a slam dunk than the last four-year, 50 million Buehrle signed.

What are your thoughts on losing Buehrle? Does his contract make it easier to understand? Or would you still give anything to have him pitch for the Sox? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.

Miguel Gonzalez throws six perfect innings as White Sox take series against Tigers

Miguel Gonzalez throws six perfect innings as White Sox take series against Tigers

For six innings Sunday, Miguel Gonzalez was perfect.

The White Sox right-hander put the baseball world on perfect-game alert and conjured memories of Mark Buehrle and Phillip Humber with his dazzling work through six innings. Gonzalez lost his bids for a perfect game, no hitter and shutout in the span of three batters to lead off the seventh inning, but that didn’t take away much from how good he was in a 7-3 win for the South Siders at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Gonzalez, who entered with a 3-5 record and a 4.55 ERA in nine previous starts this season, set down the first 18 hitters he faced in order, with the visiting Detroit Tigers rarely even coming close to reaching base. That streak of 18 straight hitters retired to start the game was the longest by a White Sox starter since Chris Sale sat down the first 19 he faced back in May 2013.

The Tigers — who trailed big after the White Sox gave Gonzalez a 7-0 lead — finally broke through to start the seventh. Austin Romine reached on an infield single, Alex Avila singled through the right side of the infield, and Miguel Cabrera dumped an RBI base hit into right field.

Detroit added two more runs on three extra-base hits in the eighth, but Gonzalez still finished with a great line, yielding just three runs on six hits in 7.2 innings of work.

Gonzalez’s gem snapped a streak of rough outings that started, coincidentally enough, against this Tigers team, when he was crushed for seven runs on 14 hits in an April 30 loss in Detroit. Entering Sunday’s game, Gonzalez was a nasty 0-5 with a 6.99 ERA in his previous five starts. He hadn’t made it out of the sixth inning in any of his previous three starts.

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That seventh-inning blip by the Tigers ended the day’s only drama, as the White Sox offense put the result of the game out of question earlier, tagging opposing starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann for seven runs in his five innings of work.

Zimmermann entered the day struggling on the 2017 campaign, and that didn’t change Sunday. Willy Garcia tripled in Omar Narvaez for the game’s first run in the third and scored on the same play thanks to a throwing error. Two hitters later, Melky Cabrera hit a solo home run to make it 3-0.

Matt Davidson led off the bottom of the fourth with his 10th home run of the season, and Narvaez drove in Yolmer Sanchez to make it 5-0. Todd Frazier tacked on two more in the fifth with a two-run shot that also scored Jose Abreu.

The White Sox took three of four from the Tigers in this weekend series that featured a doubleheader split Saturday. It’s a positive start to this home stand — which continues with a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox — after going 3-7 on a recent 10-game road trip.

Jose Abreu relishing opportunity to help mentor Luis Robert, White Sox newest Cuban addition

Jose Abreu relishing opportunity to help mentor Luis Robert, White Sox newest Cuban addition

Call it the White Sox latest Cuban connection.

When news came out of the team pursuing 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Luis Robert, it was pretty easy to guess that Jose Abreu, the franchise’s previous big-time, free-agent signing from Cuba, would be involved.

But not only was Abreu involved in the White Sox courting of Robert, sending a personalized message as part of the team’s video pitch, he’s been a willing participant. And now that Robert is officially signed after Saturday’s much-hyped introduction, Abreu is ready to take on a mentorship role, much like he has with another one of the organization’s Cuban prospects, Yoan Moncada.

In the lead up to Saturday’s press conference, it was Abreu touring Robert around Guaranteed Rate Field, chatting with him in the dugout and taking pictures on the infield.

“I was very excited to have him here, and I’m very happy right now because he’s signing with the team,” Abreu said through a translator ahead of Sunday’s series finale with the visiting Detroit Tigers. “He’s a very good player. I just told him that he has to keep working hard and keep doing the things to get here as soon as he can. He’s a nice guy.

“I’m excited to have that opportunity (to be a mentor). That’s something that I like to do. I like to advise the guys and tell them what to do for their best like I am doing right now with Moncada. I’m just waiting for that opportunity to happen with (Robert).”

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While Abreu arrived on the South Side an older, more experienced player who was ready for the big leagues, Robert’s journey to the majors will be a much different, much longer one. Abreu recognizes that and talked about how tough the transition will be. He also has confidence Robert, who has received glowing scouting reports comparing him to perennial All Stars, can succeed.

“It’s not an easy thing to do to come here straight to play in the majors because this is a very high level and a tough one to play,” Abreu said. “I think the best for him is the decision that he’s making for him, to have some games in the minors and let him develop there. He’s had a long time without playing baseball. Baseball in Cuba is good, but it’s not as good as baseball here in the U.S. and you have to adjust. I think that process for him is going to be perfect in the minors.”

Saturday, Robert talked about the White Sox tradition of Cuban players, mentioning how it helped motivate him to sign with the team. Abreu has been one of the franchise’s most successful Cuban players, a list that includes the legendary Minnie Minoso as well as more recent players like Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo and Moncada in the minor leagues.

While that tradition might not be the entire or even main reason Robert is now a part of the organization, general manager Rick Hahn talked about how it’s created an environment that will help Robert develop. Banners featuring Minoso, Abreu, Ramirez and Moncada flanked the table where Robert signed his contract.

Abreu said it’s a tradition he’s very proud to be a part of.

“That made me feel happy and proud. Not just for this organization that I’m a part of, but also for my heritage because I know that this is a very good organization and they are trying to take care of the Cuban players,” Abreu said. “I also feel a huge respect for Minnie Minoso because he was the first one who opened this door here with the White Sox.”

Through his mentoring, Abreu could keep that tradition going into the future. Robert and Moncada are huge pieces of the White Sox rebuilding puzzle, and Abreu is helping put those pieces together for the White Sox.